How to Survive Running on a Treadmill

August 15, 2014
Treadmill Running Survival

I mentioned on Wednesday 5 great benefits of running on a treadmill and seemed to get a pretty consistent reaction from people.

Treadmill running is so boring!

I definitely used to think the exact same thing until I realized what an asset it could be. Here are a few ways to get over the monotony of running on the self propelled belt we love to hate.

Treadmill Running Survival

Find one with a tv (or near one)

We got rid of cable about a year and a half ago, so treadmill running is one of my only fixes for some mindless tv. I tend to schedule the times I run so I can catch a show or movie right when it starts. Depending on the length of the program I am watching, the run usually flies by. My latest obsession has been HGTV and all of the fun house remodeling shows. We are currently house hunting, so tuning into these shows is my favorite!

Cover the screen

If you are able to, cover the screen so you can’t see how far you have gone. If you have access to a treadmill with a tv on the screen, a lot of times you can choose an option to hide all of the information pertinent to the run, and only have the show visible. If you have a standard display, throw a towel over the front so your mileage, time, and pace isn’t staring back at you.

Turn it into a workout

Instead of running an easy 5 miles in a stationary spot, come up with a workout to do. For example, warm up for a mile, and then complete 6x400m repeats (equivalent to a 1/2 mile) with 400m recovery, then cool down for one more mile. You will end up focusing on each 400, rather than the over all 5 miles. Both workouts are the same distance, however you will view them significantly different once you are finished.

Look outside

If you have the option of running on a treadmill that faces a mirror or one that faces a window to the outside, choose the one with the window. Even the littlest of distractions can make a huge difference when you are forced to look at the same thing for an extended period of time.

Know its making you mentally tough

You know that race you want to run this fall? Do you think you are going to get to a place you want to stop? Think of the treadmill as practice for that feeling. In so many races, you hit the wall or get to that inevitable place you just want to call it quits. Go just a little bit further, and then a little further after that. Before you know it, you will have finished the race (or your treadmill run).

Learn your pace

One thing many runners struggle with is knowing what a certain pace feels like. When you use a treadmill, you are able to choose that pace and stick with it (or get thrown off the back ;). Get your legs used to your target pace, and then use that knowledge when you get outside. See if you can hit the same pace in both places. The translation should be pretty seamless. It may take a little longer once you get outside, but you will get the hang of it pretty quick.

Do you have any tips to share on making through a treadmill run without going crazy (or throwing in the towel)?

5 Benefits of Running on a Treadmill

August 13, 2014

Until recently, I was the worst at running on a treadmill. No, not like I couldn’t physically do it. Mentally, I would just throw in the towel. I would sift through every excuse in the book

It’s too boring

I can’t go as far

I’ll have to drive to a gym

It’s not as effective as running outside

Blah, blah, blah

Until recently (aka Grant’s arrival), I really didn’t understand the amazing benefits of a treadmill until I was forced to do one of my long runs on one. We were on a quick trip to Detroit last month, and I was not comfortable running outside. I hopped on a treadmill and hammered out 9 miles, my longest treadmill distance to date! Here are a few reasons why treadmills really are a great tool for your training schedule.

Treadmill Benefits

You can run anytime

Sometimes, it doesn’t work for me to get out and run in the wee hours of the morning anymore. Whether Grant had a rough night of sleep, I need to sleep in for some extra energy, or Marcus is traveling so I can’t leave – the treadmill is a great option. I have access to a gym at work, so I can hop on a treadmill at lunch and knock out a 5 mile run.

The weather isn’t a factor

The heat and humidity this time of year is really rough in Tampa. No matter when you wake up, you are looking at 80+ degrees and very high humidity. Running on the treadmill can make a big difference in your recovery time, as you don’t lose as much sweat so your body recovers quicker, making for better workouts in the near future. I’ve even been splitting my long runs on the treadmill some, by running half inside and half outside to help with this recovery.

New terrain awaits

Another little tidbit about Florida – we have very limited hills, especially here in Tampa! The only way we really can get a hill workout is if we plan our runs around bridges. Raising the incline on a treadmill helps to get your legs prepped for hills. I don’t have access to a machine with the downhill factor, but there are some that simulate a downhill as well.

Treadmills

Water is easily accessible

This is minor, but can make a big difference as well. I have a carry along water bottle that works really well for my outdoor runs, but not having to physically carry it is great. Not only is water right there for you, but so is a restroom! Anyone that has been running for a decent amount of time has wished there was a bathroom near on some runs, so this makes it possible.

It is a more forgiving surface

Unless you are running trails, a treadmill is your next best option. It is significantly softer than running on pavement and way more forgiving. If trails are the only option where you live, it’s nice to run on a soft surface and not have to worry about rocks, roots, etc.

Any other benefits you can think of?

Friday Finds

August 8, 2014

Hello Friday! It was about time you got here! Here are a few things from around the web I’ve enjoyed this week :)

11 Steps to a better you

Specifically, #1 & #9

Winnie the Pooh Exercises

6 Healthy foods that really aren’t

I love this blog and think this is just an interesting post. Be sure to check it out!

Who doesn’t love a dancing dog??

I can’t stop watching (and laughing) at this video.

7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time

There are some awesome tips in this article! Time is always a major factor in workouts, so learn how to be as efficient (and effective!) as possible!

9 Nutrition Rules for Athletes

I feel like #2 & #5 are the most overlooked by far too many athletes. For you body to perform, you have to fuel it properly!

What would a post of randomness be without this guy?!

Grant 5 months tummy time

Tip Tuesday: Lower Body Squat Form

August 5, 2014

A workout is a workout right?!

Wrong!

Of course, getting out and moving is always beneficial, but if you have poor form, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Here is a quick tip to keep in mind during your lower body strength workouts.

Don’t let your knees go over your toes

In other words, while doing a squat, you should be able to look down and see your toes (or be directly in line with them) instead of your knees hiding them from you. Keeping your weight in your heels makes this a much easier task.

Squat Form

 (Source)

Another fun way to think about it is to consider what a baby look like when squatting. They tend to have perfect form, because they know no other way. Yes, they do go down a bit deeper than you or I would, but they encompass all of the important elements of a squat.

Squat baby

And yes, the picture is a stock photo. Grant can’t squat on his own yet, or I would post a picture of him. I just don’t feel comfortable using a picture of someone else’s baby who did not give me permission. Stock photos are fair game, even with that snazzy watermark. 😉

Take the extra time to look down at your lower half when squatting. There is plenty more to the squat, but this is definitely a good place to start.

Flying with a 5 Month Old Baby

August 1, 2014

On our very first plane flight with Grant, I was super nervous. I asked around to plenty of other moms for tips, tricks, and advice – the biggest one was that it was no big deal. Infants are super easy on plane flights – just feed them on take off and landing so their ears don’t pop, and you are fine.

Since Grant was just shy of the 4 month mark for that first flight, it really was no big deal. He pretty much just ate, slept, and hung out. He was one happy little guy. Even happier after a monster blowout 😉

Grant airplane ride

Now that Grant is 5 months old, he has really started with a lot of activity. He is constantly looking around, grabbing for things, and always wants to be a part of the action. This also means he is no where near as interested in falling asleep if there isn’t a lot going on. He wants us to entertain him.

Don’t board the plane right away

Yep, you read that right. Even though most airlines give families priority boarding, don’t use it! You end up sitting on the plane for way too long before even taking off. If you wait until closer to the end, your baby can play some more before being confined to your lap for the next couple of hours. This leads me to my next point…

Bring an extra blanket

This blanket can be laid out on the ground while you are waiting to board, and then thrown in your bag and not used again until it is washed. Grant loves to play on his back and spend time on his tummy – both things you can not do once you get on a plane. We kept him playing on the ground until the 3rd boarding group was ready to get on. We only spent a few minutes actually waiting on the plane before take off and nursing time. Big win!

Grant 5 months airport

Sit next to a grandma

I know this sounds funny, but it is so true. We lucked out both times going to and from Detroit. When Grant decided to have the biggest blow out EVER, our seat mate had no problem getting up and letting us change him right then and there (we did this because there were no changing tables on the plane we were on). Grandmas have been through this, time and time again. The squirming and sounds of a baby don’t bother them. They are pretty much immune to it

Wear your baby through the airport

Wearing your baby is the way to go. You can walk right through security without having to mess with your baby at all. If you end up keeping them in the car seat, you will end up having to take them out before you can go through the metal detector. If your baby falls asleep before that time, you are risking waking them up – big no no!

Airport baby wearing

Bring more than one extra outfit

At the last-minute, I grabbed an extra outfit from our suitcase, on top of the one I had already packed. When we walked off the plane in Tampa, Grant was in his 3rd outfit of the day. Yes, he wore both outfits we had packed for him. I was so happy I grabbed that last change of clothes – he really needed it!

Fly Southwest

Of course, this is just a preference (and something we didn’t do this trip). They let families board between the “A” and the “B” group, so you don’t have to get on first, but you also are able to get on with plenty of space to grab ahead of the other passengers. All of their planes are the same, so you know there are going to be changing tables in every bathroom. The biggest and best part – there are no fees for checked bags! When we went to Detroit, we ended up going with Delta because they had a cheaper direct flight. In the end, once we paid to check our bags on the way up and the way back, it was definitely more than it would have been on Southwest. We were always people who carried everything on in the past. I am pretty sure those days are behind us, at least for a few years. Who would have thought a baby needs so much stuff!?

Fly Direct

This, of course, isn’t always possible, but give it your best shot. Not having to deplane and go through another round of take offs, landings, and layovers is definitely preferred when you have a baby in tow. Direct flights are sometimes pricier, but for me, it is worth the premium (to an extent).

Grant 5 months

Wear Dark Clothes

So I mentioned above that I brought extra outfits for Grant. Well, I should have listened to this for myself. I brought an extra shirt with me, but didn’t bring extra pants. Needless to say, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, my jeans took a beating. Luckily, they were such a dark wash that nothing could even be seen on them. I will definitely continue to wear dark colors when we fly, and maybe even bring extra pants for myself as well.

Don’t Worry

When your baby starts screaming on the plane and you feel like everyone is looking at you – don’t worry about it. The same situation has happened to just about every parent who has ever flown at some point. It isn’t ideal, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. Keep calm so hopefully your baby will too!

What other tips do you have for someone flying with a more active infant?